Monday, November 24, 2008

Cajon de Maipo Part I

I reserved in a room in a hostel connected to a resort called Cascada de Animas in Cajon de Maipo for Thursday through Saturday night. The resort had everything right there—rafting, zip lining, horses, hiking, a pool, yoga, sauna, etc. I arrived on Thursday afternoon via colectivo.

That’s when I found out that there would be no rafting available for the weekend (this is why calling ahead is important). I walked the main road back to the hostel some four blocks away from the main resort.
The hostel was even more beautiful than I expected ,and I quickly found the patio which I took over as my own. It just called to me.

That day, having arrived midday and it being too hot for any strenuous activities, I went to the pool. The space was beautiful. The pool was ice cold. I went every day but never stayed in the water for long. Plus all the bugs in the pool started grossing me out.

That night, I ate a fancy dinner alone—bread, olive oil, wine, salmon, and dessert—heck why not! The view was breathtaking. The restaurant was really fun, the terrace built around the trees.
I walked back in the darkness, but having been caught camping without a flashlight before, I was prepared and I brought my flashlight along (thank goodness! It was really dark).

I decided after that walk, which seemed a lot longer in the dark, I would not go to dinner so late again. Two or three women had reassured me that the town was totally safe, and it was no problem to walk by oneself at night. But the dark creeped me out.

The next day, I decided I would go on a hike. At the front desk, I was informed that I would be going by myself if I was going to go at all. I was surprised and disappointed. It sounded like there had been guides, and I had seen other groups going on hikes together. When I hesitated, I was reassured that there were no poisonous animals on the mountain, nothing that could harm me, and that it would be fine for me to hike alone.

This the key moment when, instead of insisting on a group or nothing, I decided I would try it alone, against my better judgment.
But I did walk back to my hostel and switched my purse for a backpack, filling it with food, water, sunblock, my hat, camera, a flashlight and pepper spray. I wanted to be prepared for anything.
To be continued...

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